News (USA)

Gay WW II veteran finally sees discharge changed from ‘undesirable’ to ‘honorable’

Gay WW II veteran finally sees discharge changed from ‘undesirable’ to ‘honorable’

After almost 70 years since being labeled by the U.S. military as “undesirable” because he is gay, Melvin Dwork, a World War II Navy veteran, has finally received his “honorable” discharge, reported the Associated Press.

Melvin Dwork

The Navy notified the 89-year-old former corpsman last month that he will now be eligible for the benefits he had long been denied, including medical care and a military burial.

Dwork spent decades fighting to remove the blot on his record.

“I resented that word ‘undesirable,'” said Dwork, who was expelled in 1944, at the height of the war, and is now a successful interior designer in New York. “That word really stuck in my craw. To me it was a terrible insult. It had to be righted. It’s really worse than ‘dishonorable.’ I think it was the worst word they could have used.”

For Dwork, victory came with a heartbreaking truth: Last year, when the Navy finally released his records, he learned that his name had been given up by his own boyfriend at the time.

Associated Press, via Navy Times

An estimated 100,000 troops were discharged between World War II and 1993 for being gay, losing their military benefits as a result.

Since “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” took effect in 1993, another 14,000 service members were discharged under the policy, but most were given honorable discharges that allowed them to draw benefits.

The action by the U.S. Navy is believed to be the first time the Pentagon has taken such a step on behalf of a World War II veteran since the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” was certified.

The ban on openly gay service members in the U.S. military officially ends on Tuesday, Sept. 20.

Don't forget to share:

Support vital LGBTQ+ journalism

Reader contributions help keep LGBTQ Nation free, so that queer people get the news they need, with stories that mainstream media often leaves out. Can you contribute today?

Cancel anytime · Proudly LGBTQ+ owned and operated

Dennis Rodman outs Anderson Cooper: ‘He’s fucking gay as fuck’

Previous article

Living Legacies — Realizing that affinity for life is what love is all about

Next article